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CEO of Amiga, Inc. Interviewed 225

vlangber submitted an interview with Bill McEwen about the current state of Amiga, Inc. and their plans for the future. Bill says, "[W]e established the concept and vision of a scalable, embeddable, multi-threaded, memory protected operating system or digital environment that would run from a cell phone to a server. This is what you are going to see us deliver." While Amiga OS4 has been in pre-release since 2004, a final release is planned for later this year.
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CEO of Amiga, Inc. Interviewed

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  • by InfoHighwayRoadkill ( 454730 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:40PM (#16348805) Homepage
    I used to work with a guy who was obsessed by Amigas. He kept prediciting they would take over the world. I hope he hasnt been holding his breath all this time like I told him too
    • by achacha ( 139424 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:48PM (#16348869) Homepage
      Amiga at the time was very well designed (aside from an unshielded parallel port that could burn out the computer if IBM printers were used). Amiga had great graphics, very clean architecture (way better than Atari ST or IBM PC/XT) and it had great sound digitizer on-board; along with many other features. Games for the Amiga in the 80s were breath-taking.

      And I too knew a guy named Justin that claimed Amiga was going to take over the computer world... :)
      • Or did you mean a sound chip capable of producing four-voice, quality 8-bit digitized sound?
      • Hey Guys (Score:5, Funny)

        by BeeBeard ( 999187 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:30PM (#16349165)
        Hey guys, it's me, Justin. I just wanted to touch base with you guys and give you a heads up! Listen, this whole x86 computing thing is just a fad. Amigas are still taking over the computer world. Just give it more time, you know? You just have to wait until like, um, 2009. Okay?

        - Justin

        P.S. You bros are the best! My mom says hi.
      • I had an Atari ST cos I was (still am) a working musician. You know the reason for that: built-in MIDI ports. But, let me say, did I ever have Amiga jealousy. (TOS was so bad it made Windoze3.1 look good - god I hated it). All the best games were Amiga and got ported (usually not that well) to the Atari much later. Kinda of like the Mac/PC situation now. First time I've thought of it for over a decade today. I really hope they do well, we need more platforms out there and I'm so bored of the PC/Mac/Linux wo
        • (TOS was so bad it made Windoze3.1 look good - god I hated it).

          Although at the time I'd agree that no GUI came close to AmigaOS, I'd argue that TOS was far superior to Windows versions up to and including Windows 3.11. It was on par with early MacOS versions as well. So it was a little blocky compared to MacOS's 512x384 display; what 320x200 display WASN'T blocky? But at least it wasn't monochrome; it could display up to 512 colors, which was second only to the Amiga in the desktop graphics department. To

  • Why "Amiga"? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deanj ( 519759 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:43PM (#16348827)
    Back in the day, I was a big Amiga fan. And like most Amiga folks, I had multiple machines. They were great.

    Commodore really screwed up with the marketing. It was like plot of "The Producers"... do everything you can to make it fail.

    Now it's yet again, "Wait until you see what we have planned!" Reminds me of the old days.

    Whatever this company is doing, it's "Amiga" in name only. They really need to change the name and let "Amiga" die with whatever shred of respect that great machine once had.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      They really need to change the name and let "Amiga" die with whatever shred of respect that great machine once had.

      I feel the same way about Bugatti, but at least VW actually delivers product instead of talk.

    • Re:Why "Amiga"? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fatphil ( 181876 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:49PM (#16349293) Homepage
      For me, the Amiga philosophy was picked up more by MorphOS and Pegasos than this new so-called "Amiga".


      However, for familiarity I run linux on my pegasos box (a loaner from work, noone else uses it).

      I'll fess up to being an ex Atari ST fan. I'd have bought an Amiga if I could have afforded it. It was better, just out of the reach of my limited budget.

      • For me, the Amiga philosophy was picked up more by MorphOS and Pegasos than this new so-called "Amiga".

        Pegasos was supported on OpenBSD, but was dropped [openbsd.org]. Seems the Pegasos are made by a bunch of crooks.

    • FWIW, the engineers and marketers were proclaiming "wait to see what we have next" but Amigas were being bought hand over fist by the folks who knew they existed and wanted a capable computer.

      The problem was that the CxOs were too busy embezzeling funds, diverting money from the R&D and marketing budgets into their own coffers, causing AmigaOS AND the hardware to stagnate, while the PC was quickly catching up to and passing the Amiga's capabilities.
    • Commodore managed to destroy all respect for the Amiga with the A600, A1200, CD-TV and the CD-32.

      In fact they started the ball rolling by making sure that the Video Toaster would not work in the A3000, I guess they wanted to sell more 3000Ts at a substantial premium.

  • by joetheappleguy ( 865543 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:44PM (#16348837) Homepage
    Can it do the old Amiga trick of grabbing the menu bar and pulling down to reveal the window below it, which could actually be of a different screen resolution?

    This may sound like a small, silly thing to stick on, but it does work to remind me that the Amiga was a unique combination of clever programming AND clever hardware at a special time in computing history - What makes this new Amiga an Amiga beyond just sharing a name?

    I hope it's not Guru Meditations...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes, the Amiga proved what could be done with clever programming and a whole board full of specialized ASIC chips. Which was completely unscalable to the real world of commodity hardware and software. It was a really cool 'boutique' machine.

      'Clever' never scales very well, because clever design digs in to take advantage of warts and shine them into features.

      In essence, that is why the Amiga could foster a loud proud subculture of users, and also why it could never grow beyond said loud proud subculture.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smallfries ( 601545 )
        The real problem was the lack of progress. When the Amiga came out in 1984 it blew away *everything*. But IBM was already carving up the business world and so the Amiga never really made inroads. Apart from in Austraila oddly enough - Lassiters used to run on one. As a games machine it was amazing. But then what really changed over the years? The AA chipset was a minor speedbump. The AGA chipset finally made the difference but it was too little too late. Over the two decades that followed Intel blew Motorol
      • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )
        It's worrying that this sort of comment gets Insightful and not Troll - for some reason even 12 years after Commodore's demise, Slashdot is still full of anti-Amiga trolls who want to criticse about things 20 years ago. Your argument assumes the Amiga was not part of the "real word", and hence is flawed.

        In fact, clever tricks in hardware exist on all sorts of platforms, and they still do today. For example, 3D graphics programming today involves taking into account the advantages and bottlenecks of current
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Threni ( 635302 )
      > What makes this new Amiga an Amiga beyond just sharing a name?

      Nothing. It's like Atari. It's like any name which can be traded long after the people responsible for the name have been sacked, resigned, died etc.

    • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @03:15PM (#16349949) Homepage Journal
      I loved the Amiga hardware, but after about 1991 (with PCs discovering 'multitasking', sampled audio and coprocessors) that aspect of it got old.

      What remained Amiga OS's big strengths were:

      1) Real-time multitasking (not a big deal now)

      1a) Well-developed support for proper vblank-timed animation (PCs painfully took many, many years to catch onto this. Animation without the 'torn' look was a 'frill' to PC users.)

      2) Tight developer-community cooperating to ensure runtime stability

      3) Inter-app orchestration through ARexx ports/scripts (and ARexx built-into the Kickstart).

      4) The DOS filesystem semantics, where each filesystem was addressed by either its DOS ID *or* its volume-name. The latter could optionally prompt the user to insert volumes on an as-need basis.

      5) Integration of desktop and CLI semantics: System utility binaries were GUI, unless called from the command-line. (No they weren't near huge.) CLI invocation meant reading params from line arguments, whereas GUI invocation simply read the params list within the invoking icon's properties. The param symbol-value pairs were easily edited from any icon's "file properties" window, and they could be flagged mandatory or optional. It was a great, common-sense way to tweak the system while staying within familiar desktop/filesystem paradigm.

      6) Adding a new utility, driver, etc. to the system just meant dropping the file into its system drawer.

      7) ASSIGNs :-)

      8) Intelligent, named pipes that could handle blocking and non-blocking IO from the CLI (if you knew what you were doing), and had FIFO/LIFO modes.

      9) Stream and block device semantics that had parameter-passing (ex: 'copy SER01:/g10/sPARITY To SOUND:/v50') including AmiTCP sockets.

      10) DOS-level management of Classes and Datatypes: Drop a datatype driver into the system so that class "bitmap image" can now read/write new formats like PNG. Most apps did adopt this framework!

      11) A CLI and DOS that understood dates, incl. terms like "yesterday" (instead of each command interpreting strings as times and dates).

      12) Lots of sh-like scripting additions, like command substitution. Runtime system variables were accessed from the elastic RAM: drive, but mirrored to the HD when told to persist.

      13) 8-second bootup times :-)

      14) Apps and utilities always knew at least the basic Intuition GUI was available. No character/bitmap mode schitzophrenia.

      15) After 1.x, GUI apps behaved like proper DOS entities: Compare to Unix, where a job-management signal like SIGSTOP will freeze an X11 GUI solid. (MacOS/Aqua does not suffer this conflict.)

      16) The Zorro expansion bus (OK its hardware, but it was autoconfiguring like PCI back in the mid-80s).

      17) Having users up/download/read simultaneously as needed on your packet-switched (pre-Internet) Dnet BBS, while playing sampled music files, while copying files between other drives, while compressing stuff at low-priority, while editing images on a 16MHz system without missing a beat! (If you animated hires+hicolor during all this, then you would see a slowdown due to DMA bandwidth being hogged). Certain top-shelf action games could also be played while heavily multitasking, but you had to experiement to see which ones would try to halt other processes.

      18) No Swap!

      19) We Amiga users got laid.

      Comparied to the button-down, tight-polyester tuxedo and heavy orthopedic shoes of a "PC compatible", our Macs of the time were Art History 101 elbow-patches and loafers; an Amiga was like wearing acid-wash cutoffs while swinging on a trapeze with a complement of squirt-bottle acrylic paints. Other people thought it was a pacemaker for the early multimedia industry ;-)

      Queue up Bruce Springsteen. "Glory Days...!"
      • You missed one of the things I loved about Amigas. That was that Amigas could run MS/PCDOS/Windows 3.x as well as MacOS. Though I didn't have one then I saw an Amiga running MacOS and a Mac next to it and the Amiga was faster than the Mac at running Mac software. Back in '97/98 I bought my first PC and I ordered it from Gateway. When I ordered it I specifically said one reason I bought a Gateway was because they bought Amiga and I wanted to see the Amiga brought back. Big mistake. They didn't do anyth

      • by Burz ( 138833 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @06:30PM (#16351125) Homepage Journal
        20) Virtual folders that unify two or more real folders.

        21) File-change notifications

        22) The WINDOW: device... create and manipulate windows as files. The parameters would be passed like: open("WINDOW:0/0/400/100/Window Title"); which specifies window location, size and title. Also SPEAK: could accept parameters for voice synthesis.

        23) The whole disk-based portion of the system was located under one abstract assignment, SYS:, which could point almost anywhere

        24) Each filesystem had its own root. The root of the current path would be accessed with a simple colon prefix (instead of VOLNAME:). The CLI would remember previous dirs and take you back to them with 'pcd'.

        25) Escape codes could be used to draw bitmaps within console windows, although this was an unintended feature.

        26) DOS had pattern-expansion that at the time was between globbing and regex in richness. Pattern support, as I recall, depended on the program intentionally passing the pattern string through an AmigaDOS expansion function which returned a linked-list of files. This has the advantage of not needing 'xargs' due to fileset size; but you had to use an xarg-like utility for certain commands because they did not internally support expansion (these few commands were written for single files, so these cases were rare).

        27) A Unified bitmap and scalable (Agfa) FONTS: location, and I recall that rendering functions were later unified. This was more Mac-like and way ahead of the PC (which had balkanized fonts upto Win95). The bitmap fonts could be 32-color and also animated like GIFs. The first PC OS to handle loadable font-display through GPU coprocessing (the Blitter).

        28) Each filesystem was 'bisected' with the allocation map and main dir in the middle of the partition, and each new file assinged to grow on one side or the other. Supposedly this kept head thrashing minimal in certain scenarios.

        29) Most commands were 're-entrant' and could be configured to pre-load and link in memory to perform as if they were internal to the CLI. Since each command was equal to the parent CLI process, no process-creation or other overhead was incurred, and it saved memory and instruction cache as well.

        30) Programs (apps) were often just the main binary plus the matching "binary.info" file (which defined the icon and params). Ones needing libraries, AV data and such were simply played inside of a 'drawer' (folder) to keep everything together, so installing a program often meant copying its folder onto your HD (wherever you liked) and install wizards were kindof rare.

        31) CLI escaping and quoting were powerful but very clean, and much less likely (IMO) than bash to lead to misleading code (especially when pattern expansion was in the mix). Adoption of Unix-y features was very selective, and the OS as a whole was probably more true to the everything-as-file concept than a typical Unix workstation.

        32) Event-handling in the standard devices was sophisticated enough that daemons were rare.

        33) The core OS (scheduler+DOS) knew the difference between a thread, shell-bound process, user-facing GUI process, a handler/driver, and something called a "commodity" which is similar in function to OSX Dashboard widgets. Many tasklist utilities would display them quite distinctly as a result, and just show the apps by default.

        34) Racter: 3rd-party app that combined an Eliza-like engine with an animated 3D metalic female face (circa 1986).

        35) Diga! Also about 1986, a multiplexed VT-100 app that could (with two Amigas) transfer files both ways while chatting, with resume, CRC etc.

        and ...

        42) Had both NIL: and NULL: devices that functioned differently. :-)
        • Don't forget the elaborate memory map, especially for the hardware types! All you needed to know was memory location 4. From there you could access anything anywhere!

      • 11) A CLI and DOS that understood dates, incl. terms like "yesterday" (instead of each command interpreting strings as times and dates).

        This was one of my favorites. Although Mac OS X does this a little bit in its file displays (showing "yesterday" or "today" or "12:34pm" as necessary) I wish it went farther. I wish it was expandable and customizable so directories could show dates like "Christmas, 2003" or "Last Easter" or "Thursday."

        Of course, I wish that I could get the Mac system clock voice to
        • by Ctrl-Z ( 28806 )
          Of course, I wish that I could get the Mac system clock voice to announce the time in a language other than the one the GUI is set for, but I'm not going to get that either.

          Of course... Wait. Why do you want that again?
          • My wife likes to hear the hourly "It's X o'clock" announcement that my Powerbook makes. Kind of like the way some people have clocks or watches the chime at the top of the hour. It would be nice if the announcement on my computer could be in a language that she's more comfortable with without having to change the UI so it's in a language I can't read.

            Eventually I plan to flip the whole thing anyway as a language learning tool, but I'm not ready for that yet.
      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )
        "I loved the Amiga hardware, but after about 1991 (with PCs discovering 'multitasking', sampled audio and coprocessors) that aspect of it got old."
        More like 1995.. Unless you had the big bucks for A nice windowsNT system. OS2 2.1 was also close but Windows 3 really was crap compared to Amiga OS.
        The fact that anyone bought or developed for MS-DOS after 1984 just show the power of marketing over quality.
        Mac, Atari ST, and the Amiga where all year ahead of what Microsoft had at the time.
        And the Atari and Amiga
      • You forgot one thing: Max Headroom! [wikipedia.org]
    • by zsau ( 266209 )
      Is this something like the feature of Enlightenment when you can drag a drag bar on the edge of a virtual desktop, and see a part of the virtual desktop below it?

      Except that each virtual desktop has its own display properties?

      And so you could have half of your screen running in 1024x768x32 bit color, and another running in 1280x1024x16 bit color? Is that acutally possible?
      • No, it wasn't possible, but the Amiga still did it, thats how good it was!
      • by jregel ( 39009 )
        The reason the Amiga had the ability to drag down a screen and see a different screen at a different resolution / colour depth was due to a custom processor called the Copper.

        This processor was basically synched to the raster beam display, and could be programmed to change screen resolutions at the end of a line. This meant that for example, the first 100 lines were drawn at 640 horizontal resolution, and the Copper could then change the screen resolution (e.g. 320) for the remainder. Very clever, but very
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:47PM (#16348863)
    Please - stop using Amiga name. Amica was a respectful brand and now it's a legend. Please do not kill Amiga with anything you have - use new product name instead. Don't do like General Motors company did to Chevrolet brand - Chevrolet was a well known and well respected brand all over the world - now General Motors call Korean made cars Chevrolets. They have totally raped the brand. I hope it won't happen with Amiga.
  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:48PM (#16348873)
    They are attacking the problem as the underest underdog. But just from the quote in the summary, I can predict they will need to change that guy before they can succeed.

    No company ever got successful with a single product that was applicable to all levels of possible applicability. Microsoft is successful because it makes ubiquitous desktop software, not because Windows XP is modular and its kernel lightweight and fast and embeddable. Sun makes a great VM that really runs well on servers, but it's not exactly a common language among the masses. IBM's AS400 is a pretty neat system, but I wouldn't want it as my mom's computer.

    You need to pick your niche and carve it out before you go about trying to make your product ubiquitous. Success comes when people see your product and know immediately where it is applicable. Growth comes when you get them to see it applicable to their domain as well. However, if they don't see the first part, they won't accept the second part.

    I knew a photographer who was pretty decent at any sort of photography that a client could dream up. From detailed macro work to poster-quality landscape work, this guy did it all. He had to do it as a hobby because he couldn't get enough work from his clients. He decided to nail down what his acceptable project type was and decided on industrial equipment photography. He can't take a vacation or spend his millions of dollars in profits because his phone is always ringing with new offers for work. By limiting his range of work, he became much more visible to those people who would hire him. Until he did that, he was just another guy among the crowd.

    Amiga is just another guy among the crowd.
    • by shmlco ( 594907 )
      From a "real" photographer's business card...

      I specialize [sic] in wedding, portrait, boudoir, commercial, industrial, food, model, school, sports, editorial, art, and pet photography.
  • Established the idea, perhaps. But while you've been talking about, both Windows and Linux have actually done it.
  • now then, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:00PM (#16348963) Journal
    I like Amega as much as the next guy (well, maybe a lot more than the average non-/. crowd) but I do wonder what the hell is going on here, what are they doing? why are they doing it? what gap are they trying to fill?

    Take for example;
    "While Amiga OS4 has been in pre-release since 2004, a final release is planned for later this year."

    So, a pre-release was in 2004, and it's now 2006 and it's not a final yet? who is working on it? They are talking about OS5 in TFA but there seems to be some doubt about whether or not the kernel is even written - from TFA "...asked if they were interested in developing the kernel for OS5. This implies that the kernel hasn't even been started. If the kernel work hasn't even started, the eventual release of OS5 seems very uncertain and far away"

    So they create something and don't ship it then try and say they are further along than they are, then just not give a clear answer about what is going on, it was all "oh, yeah, I know the schedule, but I won't tell you". I have serious doubts about what is goign on here... and that was before I found out that there were only 5 people working on it!
    • I like Amega as much as the next guy

      Apparently not well enough to know how to spell its name.

      why are they doing it?

      To make money.

      what gap are they trying to fill?

  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:09PM (#16349033) Homepage
    Feels very strange to look at their web site though, somehow to me the name just doesn't click in the modern era. Here's what Commodore are doing today [commodorecorp.com]. As I understand it, a company bought all rights to the name and launched themselves as Commodore. Via the Retrobits podcast [libsyn.com] I heard an interview with a US salesman for them - apparently they're quite serious about the Commodore name, and want to revive the spirit and attitude of working rather than just the name.

    Having read about the way Commodore worked I'm not especially certain that's a great strategy, but it'll be interesting to hear what happens.

    • Hmmm... on one of their pages it talks about the "spirit of personal freedom" and on another page they talk about how their portable media players come equipped with DRM....

      I dunno how much they will be able to revive the spirit of the Commodore of old - Remember, when you bought the c64, EVERY port was documented in the back of the user manual, and if you had the programmers reference guide for the c64, it came with complete schematics!

      Good luck getting that info for their new hardware...

      Just my LOAD "*",8
  • Pure vaporware (Score:3, Informative)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@nOspAm.world3.net> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:22PM (#16349127) Homepage Journal
    Whatever Amiga Inc says, it's all just vapor. Let's look at the facts.

    1. AmigaOS 4 is in beta, but will not be finished until hardware is available to run it on
    2. There is no hardware to run AmigaOS 4 on
    3. No-one seems to be able to get licences to make compatible hardware
    4. The market is fast shrinking, with the only company ever to make hardware (Eyetech) having given up

    The worst thing is, even if they somehow do manage to get a final version of AmigaOS 4 out the door, what will you be able to do with it? Run the same old apps you were running ten years ago a lot faster. Sure, there are some updates, but even basic stuff isn't covered. No modern office suites. No email clients that support HTML mail, POP3 with SSL etc. No web browser that supports flash, Javascript 2.0, CSS or much beyond HTML 3.2. The last major commercial game released was Quake.

    If the platform has been open-sourced years ago, it might have had a future. AROS is probably the best bet at the moment. I still love AmigaOS, but I just find it laughable when McEwan comes out with this crap. How many years has he been saying it now? For how many years has nothing happened? Remember World of Amiga 2000, when you told everyone there would be the new system and OS ready to see when in fact you hadn't even started? Show us the money Bill, or don't expect us to beleive anything.
    • Re:Pure vaporware (Score:5, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:51PM (#16349303) Homepage Journal

      I have to agree with that.

      This is actually a very real, very strong, case for RMS's controvertial opinions on the morality of proprietary software. Commodore/Escom's death didn't have to be the end of AmigaOS as a viable platform (it would, today, in my view be unrecognizable if it had continued to be supported, but that's another issue [slashdot.org].) People relied upon the various owners of Amiga to provide the resources to ensure it remained usable: every single one of those owners from Gateway onwards have been failures. And all previous owners, Escom, Commodore, and Hi Torro, failed to plan for the possibility of commercial failure.

      There was a movement to get AmigaOS open sourced in the late nineties. It was widely criticised by many, including those within the Amiga community, who decided that it was in some way wrong to allow Amiga technologies to become free enough that they might help bolster rival operating systems. The sheer mindlessness of that position is readily apparent after Gateway's decision to instead sell the technologies to private consortiums who had anything but freedom and openness in mind when they bought it.

      Now, two years behind schedule, AmigaOS 4 is still in a state where it'll be finished "RSN". Public betas have shown no dramatic improvements over the original. It's tied to licensed PowerPC hardware because of Amiga Inc's nned for profits, a need that is opposite to the operating system's users need for future proofing and reasonable expectations of support.

      AROS is no panacea, and it too has little advantage, beyond portability, over the original AmigaOS. But it at least keeps alive something. AmigaOS and AROS are beyond the point that they will ever be relevent as modern day operating systems - even on lightwieght systems, their lack of a credible security model limits their uses in a modern networked world.

      The Amiga's prime purpose these days seems to be as a little noticed warning to others. If you invest your time and money into someone else's proprietary platform, even if it's the best platform there is (and, arguably, the Amigas were, for a very long time, the best platforms in existance for machines costing less than $5,000) you do stand a serious chance of being screwed over. The same lessons were apparent from the BeOS fiasco. The same lessons, learned in reverse, were apparent from the Atheos story (the developer quit, but because it was non-proprietary, others were able to pick up where he left off.)

      As a "paranoid crackpot leftovers from the waning days of Amiga", I find it sad and such a waste that that's where we are.

      • by Burz ( 138833 )
        Sigh... Amiga was the Number 3 PC platform for a couple years running. That's a LOT of people and committment that got whacked with the hardship of migrating to other platforms (and the investment in time/money wasted).

        Nearly or shortly thereafter, OS/2 also took a dive due to MS' betrayal of IBM.

        Then, as you mention, there was BeOS.

        NeXT would have been another casualty without Apple picking it up AND getting the MS 'sanction' to save its bacon.

        There was a lot of excellent, sophisticated stuff that gained l
      • There was a movement to get AmigaOS open sourced in the late nineties. It was widely criticised by many, including those within the Amiga community, who decided that it was in some way wrong to allow Amiga technologies to become free enough that they might help bolster rival operating systems.

        Yet ironically, the Amiga OS was based on the open source Tripos OS and BCPL compiler...

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Alas TripOS isn't (and wasn't) open source, merely "source available/limited distribution [cam.ac.uk]".

          TripOS's role within AmigaOS was always a little strange and overblown by some people. (Most of) DOS, which dos.library interfaced with, and the CLI and its commands were essentially the whole of it. The kernel (exec) and pretty much everything to do with graphics and the GUI were a separate system. By the time of the release of AmigaOS 2.x, most of the code had been thrown out in favour of C equivalents.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by dreadclown ( 842647 )
          Only "AmigaDOS" (fileIO/CLI) was based on Tripos and BCPL; Commodore outsourced that to a UK company to get AmigaOS V1 out the door.

          It was wretched. Slow, bloated and lacking functionality

          Programming example: convert strings from null-terminated to first-byte-contains-length, then right-shift the address 2 bits right so that the BCPL runtime can left-shift it back again to use it ...

          Most of the functionality and all the really nifty stuff in that area, e.g. file-notifications, came after it was compl

  • by cecom ( 698048 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:26PM (#16349145) Homepage Journal

    This seems like some kind of a scam. What can one think after reading this:

    9.) Will OS5 be based on any code from OS3 or OS4?

    BM>> I would prefer not answering this at this time. As we are ready to release more information it will become a much clearer picture.

    10.) Will OS5 have a full-blown Java VM?

    BM>> Wait and see. We have some pretty interesting plans with regard to Java.

    11.) Will OS5 be a 64-bit OS, i.e. run on 64-bit CPUs, with a 64-bit address space? What about memory protection?

    BM>> I would prefer not answering this at this time. As we are ready to release more information it will become a much clearer picture.

    13.) In the Amiga.Org answers, you said that OS5 didn't use Tao technology, yet you also stated that OS5 would run on multiple CPU architectures. How do you support different CPU families without the Tao technology? Fat binaries?

    BM>> You support them in the method and way that we are going to support them.

    It is obvious that either this guy has no idea at all of what is going on, or that he is lying and there is no development at all, the latter being much more likely. I read the other interview linked from the article and it was full of the same nonsense - definitely not anything that I'd expect from a serious business let alone its CEO. It is completely ridiculous.

    Although I respect what Amiga was in the past (although I never personally used it), my advice to the Amiga fans and hobbyists is to forget about this "company". Amiga is dead.

    • I agree; it's one thing if he doesn't want to reveal things that would give competitors an advantage, like specific features, but not even what platform (like 32/64 bit) it will run on. What would not answering that achieve for him? Sounds like the only reason being "gain more time to figure out whatever the hell we'll develop" indeed.
      • but not even what platform (like 32/64 bit) it will run on. What would not answering that achieve for him?

        He can't tell because it will run on 73 bit and revolutionize everything! =)
  • I was.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:28PM (#16349159)
    a hardcore Amiga fan back in the day. So were all my friends. I loved my Amiga 500... it got me through a CS degree when there was little to no chance of getting enough time on the departments own systems to do my project. And wow what an operating system... it made Windows 3.1 look positively stupid. The Amiga defined and fit the zeitgeist of that time perfectly and will always hold a special place in my heart. Then there was the day Amiga corp. died (to the tune of bye-bye Ms. American pie). All us CS nerds felt like Elvis had just died. I stayed with my Amiga for years after, even though the parent company were long gone. It had a special place for me as it had unfailingly been there for me when I needed it and we had been through some of the best times of my life together. However eventually it was beyond impossible to deny any more that my little buddy had seen his day and I sadly moved over to PC.

    However, now is not then, and we're all grown-up now with our business laptops. Where on earth can Amiga find a market now? They're not even close to being the same company or attempting to appeal to the same market. Is the market demnographic that defined the original Amiga buyer even still there?

    Even the Amiga vision and sense of community has been fulfilled by Linux, which has unassailable advantages over Amiga Os and any other commercial product in that you can download for free and install on the hardware that you have already. I would love to see Amiga OS on sale again but I'm not sure even I could really find a need for it other than some misplaced sense of nostalgia, which would probably fade as soon as I booted it and realised I didn't recognise the new AmigaOs at all. Another nice OS with no third parties writing apps or games for it? If I wanted that I'd buy OS/X.
    • Re:I was.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by DrunkenPenguin ( 553473 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:49PM (#16349751) Homepage
      Even the Amiga vision and sense of community has been fulfilled by Linux

      Exactly. And you know why that has happened? It's because the creativity is there within the Linux community. Linux coders have free hands to do whatever they want to and create freely whatever comes to their mind without any deadlines. This is why commercial software will eventually fail - nowadays shareholders want more and more done within less and less time - this will result in bad code. Linux is free of all that crap. Nobody is pushing Linux coders, they have the time to make it right. They have the time to be creative. It's not possible to do that anymore if you're a coder in some software company. There are deadlines and shareholders that are making your job miserable.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This is why commercial software will eventually fail - nowadays shareholders want more and more done within less and less time - this will result in bad code. Linux is free of all that crap. Nobody is pushing Linux coders, they have the time to make it right.

        Hilarious, dude, just hilarious. It almost sounded like you said Linux had clean code and no ugly hacks. Funny stuff.
    • I couldn't agree more with your comments.

      It really was with great reluctance that I sold my original A1200 to buy my first PC - even though AmigaDOS and Workbench completely blew Windows 3.1 apart, there just wasn't any easy way of trying to work with PC-created files and unless you were prepared to shell out for an expensive graphics board on the Amiga, you just couldn't get the resolutions for desktop application work that you could on a PC. However, the Amiga was where I first cut my teeth with vi and

  • Another Interview (Score:3, Informative)

    by tmk ( 712144 ) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:42PM (#16349249)
    The site amiga.org did an interview with Bill McEven a few weeks ago http://www.amiga.org/modules/news/article.php?stor yid=6955 [amiga.org] Hyperion, who are working on AmigaOS 4 did a statement http://www.amiga-news.de/en/news/AN-2006-09-00085- EN.html [amiga-news.de] Bill McEven responded later http://www.amiga.org/modules/news/article.php?stor yid=6970 [amiga.org] The Amiga community - yes, ther is still a community - is pretty sick of Bill.
  • good luck (Score:2, Insightful)

    Its a real shame the Amiga fizzled, it had a great many things going for it. Pretty amazing what they made a 7.14MHz machine with 512k ram do, imagine what it would be like today if they hadnt screwed up :) The community at its peak was awesome, never seen anything like it since. Good luck to the new owners!
  • 3.) How many people are working on OS5 at the moment?

    BM>> There are 5 on the team at this time, and we will be adding another group in the next few weeks.

    A whole five? Novell devotes more than that to the Linux kernel alone, don't they?
    • by oojah ( 113006 )
      A whole five?

      Yeah... I'm as much of a fan as the Amiga as the next man, but this is just embarassing. Even worse they go on to say this:

      The product that we are going to ship is going to be much better than OSX from Apple

      Are they serious?



  • Too late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Carrot007 ( 37198 ) <Carrot007@thewib ... k ['ble' in gap]> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @05:11PM (#16350647) Homepage
    I loved my amiga back in the day.

    However in 1996/7 I went PC out of a need for more.

    I've tried various other OS's over the years but have not been convinced.

    Since OSX 10.4 things however have been different. Back i the day i used to head-butt mice to pretend to be a mac user in a derogatory way, however my new mac mini and macbook fill the extra the amiga used to provide in my computing life.

    Yeah I still have a windows box for gaming and a kubuntu server for stuff but my macs provide my general computer needs and that sence of fun that was otherwise missing.

    Should amiga release something i may bve tempted but i know its as much amiga as some company that buys some dead companies name to try and get ahead.

    Times change, this does not mean new amiga will be bad, just not new amiga.

    Anyway OSX is here and now and nice!
  • So, how is Elvis? I hear that Roy Orbison and George Harrison are stomping on bugs quicker than Johnny Cash can crank out them line of BCPL.

  • ... reputation of dishonesty.

    That is a reputation that is not going to vanish over nite.

    If they really have learned from their mistakes, then they should have kept quiet until they actually have something to release.

    Show me, don't tell me.
  • I used to work for Ashton-Tate before it was bought out by Borland. Though it was very hush hush at the time, I personally built a business plan for porting dBASE III Plus over to the Amiga. We had a group of Amiga developers lined up to do the port. The marketing and business plan showed that there was a profit to be made if the port was done. I managed to get the honchos from Commodore to meet with Ed Esber and with management from the Amiga development company. After a couple months of serious work
  • the fact that a bunch of ex and not-so-ex secret service spooks were in charge of Commodore during its marketing self-destruction.

    Interesting, that.

    I mean, who needs a computer system which was as stable, affordable and advanced as the Amiga when you could have the piece of gosa PC system which confuses and frustrates the hell out of everybody, wastes time and money, and which is now the de-facto norm in computing?

    I dunno. The Amiga had that Open Source, non-corporate, power to the people feeling. I wonde
  • We do not need a scalable O/S that plays on a range of devices. We need a portable home computer with standard hardware for video and sound, a good UI and above all, an API that is not burried under tens of protocols and layers of architecture...a CPU that makes sense (with a few instructions), standard hardware for 2D and 3D applications, standard hardware for controllers and I/O.

    The difference between the Amiga and the PC is that the PC is a closed platform owned by Intel and Microsoft (not counting Linux
    • by greywire ( 78262 )

      The difference between the Amiga and the PC is that the PC is a closed platform owned by Intel and Microsoft (not counting Linux), whereas the Amiga was an open platform that one could use the hardware in anyway imaginable, since the O/S was open.

      What crack are you smoking?

      The "PC" is the most open platform there is, being that it started off being designed with off the shelf parts. It is what it is today because it was so easily duplicated (remember they used to be called pc-clones?) by everybody and thei

      • You don't get it, do you?

        What I want, and many others, is a home computer/console hybrid with an open programmable standard hardware.

        In other words, we want a console disguised as a computer that we can program our games on it without several layers of committee-design code to block us.
        • by greywire ( 78262 )
          What I want, and many others, is a home computer/console hybrid with an open programmable standard hardware.

          In other words, we want a console disguised as a computer that we can program our games on it without several layers of committee-design code to block us.

          I always thought of my Amiga as so much more than just a game machine with a keyboard...

          Maybe you want a Nintendo wii? Sounds like it may be a relatively open machine...
  • Voice of Dissent (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thumper_SVX ( 239525 ) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:17AM (#16354377) Homepage
    Well, not necessarily here on Slash... but here's my opinion.

    Where's the "killer app" for this operating system? I mean, really? Sure, in my opinion there has always been room in the past for new operating systems, but I'm afraid that ship has sailed a long time ago. There are already a smorgasbord of good operating systems out there that meet the needs of modern developers both on the desktop and in embedded systems. So where's the compelling reason to scope out one more OS platform when developing either of these platforms?

    Embedded systems need a good real-time operating system, or at least one that is light on resources. OK, so by default I know in a few years we're going to be seeing really powerful embedded systems, but that will only open the door to increase the OS footprint using existing OS's. They're all still being developed, so they will continue to grow as the hardware platforms also continue to grow. This isn't new, this is just economics of the computer industry 101.

    Today if you want to develop an embedded platform you have a multitude of good choices of platform. I don't see much market for yet another OS. If you want quick and dirty development on the cheap, you've got Linux kernels... if you want well polished and flexible you've got Symbian. If you want something verging on a desktop OS in complexity you've got CE / PocketPC / Whatever they hell they're calling it this year. Take your pick... and these are only the high-profile contenders. For each of these, there are probably a dozen other alternatives that work just as well. I don't see how AmigaOS is going to compete in this market space.

    Now to the desktop side. Sorry, I still don't see it. In many ways I feel OSX was the natural spiritual successor to AmigaOS. Many of the things that made it great are quite obviously inspiring similar or even identical functionality in OSX. That's natural; many of the things AmigaOS did were only great by the standards of the time. And today, only Apple does the same thing with the unified architecture of platform an operating system... Microsoft can't compete there because they have such a wide range of hardware to support. As long as Apple maintains control of the hardwar they can tune the OS to said hardware and provide a user experience not a million miles away from what AmigaOS gave us 20 years ago.

    Even then, on the desktop side you have a multitude of choices again; Linux, BSD, Windows, you name it! There are even Windows workalikes, MS-DOS platforms. And if you think DOS is dead you've obviously never worked in the embedded space. Sure it may just be a bootstrapper for your applications rather than a true OS, but there are plenty of people still coding in the 16-bit DOS space, sometimes with 32-bit extensions where required. Hell, I even maintain a DOS installation in a Parallels virtual machine on my Macbook so I can do development in the environment... so there's yet another desktop OS to compete with.

    I loved the Amiga platform. I had two of them; a 500 and a 1200. I also had an Atari ST which I loved just as much. Having said that though, the only compelling reason I can find to even look at the new AmigaOS is for the purposes of nostalgia. Sorry, that doesn't cut it either for me. I've done the nostalgia thing... I've booted these OS's in emulators and checked them out. They're dated and do nothing that modern OS's don't. Sure I can view these platforms through rose-tinted spectacles and profess my love for the stuff they did, but by modern standards they just fail to impress on most levels.

    I'm not saying we've reached a plateau with regard to operating systems... I personally feel that all the major players have plenty of places to go. However, just another OS with a desktop metaphor interface in an already crowded market place... you'd have to give it away to make it viable unless it does something incredible. Look at Be. Great OS, and to my mind the closest we've been to an AmigaOS like experience on Intel architecture... but they tried to sell i
  • Will the Amiga OS Programmers step and say "Hey, Its alive!"..

    Someone other than a figurehead for Amiga should step up and make some comments that wont break NDA's....

    Sad, Other than the Amiga OS was way ahead of its time, and very usable, if it was actively upgraded what would we have in our OS today? Vista and OSX wouldn't even be close to usability and eye-candy.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev